Bike
  • 1h 00m 02s
  • 17.42 miles
  • 17.41 Mi/hr

A littl over five hours of training this week. That's pretty much my goal until after the holidays. Probably going to take another complete week off from swimming and then, I'll start working on my form by filming myself and having it critiqued.

Run
  • 1h 31m 01s
  • 9.08 miles
  • 10m 01s /Mi

Easy, almost all z1 and low z2

Bike
  • 1h 10m 37s
  • 19.79 miles
  • 16.81 Mi/hr

Off

Run
  • 50m 09s
  • 5.27 miles
  • 09m 31s /Mi

2011 Triathlon Season in Review

This year has been, by far the most rewarding and amazing season for me in triathlons since I started in 2005.  To really evaluate it though, I have to go back to last Fall… September 15, 2010 to be exact.  That is the night I went with Bobby to do a training run for the Cow Harbor 10k.  This is what I wrote on that night:

“I learned more about running form from that one 56 minute run with Bobby than I have in 5 years of running. I now I have a new sense of running form and I know what I need to do to make myself run easier and more efficiently.”

Something else happened on that night though and last fall as well.  I learned that I can push myself more than I had been to that point.  I learned that I was capable of so much more if I was willing to enter a place where I would be forced to leave my comfort zone. As time progressed and I continued training with that in mind, I found myself getting more and more comfortable with being uncomfortable.  I learned that I could run many miles with my HR in the 150s and 160s… I didn’t have to be limited to staying in the 130s every time I ran more than 3 miles.

Because of all of these changes to my run training and racing philosophy, I was able to attain one PR after another during the course of this season.  Every single race I entered this year, ended in a PR… every single one (except the LI Half Marathon, which I used as a training run after a long ride).  I would be exposing myself as completely ignorant though, if I simply stated that the change in my point of view is what, alone, led to my breakout season.  Much of the improvement came from overall fitness gains I received from IM training.

I started training for IMLP in the first week of January with some relatively low weekly volume, but structured training.  As the months went on though, the volume increased and I was becoming a better triathlete with each passing week.  I have never, ever, put together this kind of volume for a triathlon season in the past.  For a frame of reference, here are my yearly totals over the years:

2005 b-707   r-352 s-41,972
2006 b-2017 r-880 s-148,350
2007 b-2494 r-803 s-132,152
2008 b-2210 r-833 s-86,047
2009 b-3057 r-810 s-90101
2010 b-2349 r-1051 s-90922

2011 b-3533 r-818 s-184454

And, keep in mind, it’s only October 11 as I write this.  Because of all of this training, I was becoming lighter and leaner than I have ever been.  I was able to, rather comfortably, stay below 197 lbs for the entire season, even dropping to >190 at a few points.  I think this is another valuable lesson I learned from this season.  One, I can get under 190 pounds and not be completely miserable in the process and two, perhaps most importantly, for the first time in my life, I realized that I am in charge of my own weight.  There is no external force that determines my fitness level.  I have the control.

My first race of the season was the Kings Park 15k, a PR by about 8 minutes.  After a winter of running hard throughout the cold months, I was ready to go and try to further unlock the athlete inside of me.  Here is what I wrote on that day in my RR:

  “This was a HUGE breakthrough race for me today and probably the first time I can honestly say that I RACED an entire event.”  “Today, I went for it and pushed harder than ever, running mile 4 and 5 in 8:13 and 8:03. That was huge, especially because I ran that hard and fast at the midpoint of the race.“

My next mission was to get a new PR in my first “A” race of the season; The Suffolk County Half Marathon.  The question that I had going into this event was whether or not I’d be able to push as hard I have been in a race this long.  I wasn’t sure if I would be able to hang on for that long without completely blowing up.  It was a cold day (28 degrees), which probably, in retrospect, was very favorable for me.  I finished in 1:54:43… a new PR by about 3 minutes.

Now that April was upon us and the Half Marathon was behind me, it was time to start focusing solely on IM training.  I quickly became completely engrossed and absorbed by the training plan and attaining the prescribed weekly volume numbers.  I did the LI Half Marathon in early May.  I used it as a long training day, as I rode long the day before and again that morning on the trainer.  I ran the first half really slow with Kev and then pushed a bit more for the remainder.

My first tri of the season was the RJA Mighty Montauk Oly. and I killed it, posting a big pr.  I averaged 22 mph on the bike and 8:27/mile in the 10k.  For the first time, I raced a triathlon.  I pushed myself throughout the race and passed a bunch of people on the bike and the run.  I had an absolutely outstanding race.  But there was little time to rest on my laurels as it was now time to increase my training to the long, long days and weeks of IM training.

By this time, I was consistently hitting 13 hours of training a week and I did a handful of 100 mile rides.  There were days that I felt like I had to drag myself outside to start training, but there were also times when I was so amazed by my own level of fitness that I almost needed to get outside to run or bike or swim.  The one negative of tri training is that I think it made me really good at going really slow for a really long time.  My focus definitely shifted to more of a long slow distance kind of a routine in all three disciplines and I even started to move away, entirely, from any kind of speed work (my own doing). 

On July 2nd, about 86 miles into my last 100 mile ride before my 7/24 IM, I got into a bike accident.  It was, by far, the most frightening thing that has happened to me in tri training.  I still don’t know exactly what happened, but I do know that I had a concussion and, although I didn’t know it until after the IM, I broke my shoulder and partially tore my ac joint.  Two days later, I left for a one week cruise to Alaska.  When we first thought about this trip, I thought it would seriously derail my IM training, but it turned out that it was exactly what I needed as I had the opportunity to be forced to significantly cut back on my training.  On July 14 (my 36th birthday) I tried swimming for the first time since the accident.  I had to alter my form a bit, but I was able to swim 2000 yards on that day… it was painful, but I got through it.  And, I still had no idea of the gravity of my shoulder injuries.

On July 21st it was time to leave for Lake Placid.  I could spend the next 2 hours writing about that weekend and the experience of completing my first tri, but instead, I will try to keep this short and simply refer to my race report.  I do have to mention though that the IM was a magical, life-altering event that is simply too hard to describe to anyone who has never been to or raced an IronMan.  I am so much more confident now in my day-to-day life.  There are still time where I find myself daydreaming about it and try to wrap my head around the fact that I actually am an IM finisher.  The finish line at the IronMan really was so much more than the end of one even.  It was, for me, a culmination of 6 years of training.  Six years of reinventing myself and 6 years of sacrificing to make myself the best endurance athlete I could be. 

Like I said, I could go on and on about the IronMan, but here is the link to the RR:  http://beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=262467

I now had two solid months left to shift my focus to the Mighty Man Half Iron Triathlon on October 2nd.  Four times, I have done this race and four times I set a goal of breaking 6 hours as an overall time.  I came close once, three years ago when I finished in 6:04.  This year would be perhaps the smartest half IM I have ever raced.  I paced myself in all three parts nearly perfectly, and… had another PR; this one by just about 8 minutes.  This year, I raced this IM not only to the best of my physical ability, but I was mentally focused on breaking six hours from the time I started until I crossed the line.  It was another finish line that represented more to me than just the end of another event.  Throughout this season, I learned that I can always improve.  I may not have another year like this one where I have PRs every single time I race, but I will always be aware of the fact that improvement is possible.  For a frame of reference, my Half Marathon in the HIM was my 4th fastest ever.  I have become a different kind of athlete this year and the HIM was clear evidence of that. 

I ended the season with my local sprint distance race, The Cedar Beach Sprint Tri, one week after the HIM.  Leading up to it, I wasn’t totally focused on this event like I had been on the previous races of 2011.  I think mentally, a lot more than physically, I am finally worn down from a long 10 months of dedicated, disciplined and focused training.  Nonetheless, when the gun went off, I found myself quickly becoming a “racer”.  The Cedar Beach Sprint would end in another pr, not only for this race, but also a 5k pr (I averaged 8:12 on the run).

All in all, this has been a completely tremendous season for me, a breakthrough season in every single way possible.  Over the course of the last year, I have become a better triathlete both physically and mentally.  Every race, every single race, has been a breakthrough for me.  I finally now see what I am capable of and it is an excellent sight.  I know that there is still work to be done.  I cannot afford to relax now, sit back and become a person who in 3 years is 30 pounds heavier, talking about what a great year 2011 was.  Now, it is time to relax a bit and allow myself to recover from the grind… maybe more mentally than anything, I need this time where my training is shorter, less intense and less structured.  I have the confidence to allow myself this time for the first time in my triathlon career because I perhaps the most important thing I learned this year is that I am in control. 

mscotthall's Training Log


 October 2011 
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